Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) helped arrange the president’s tour of the disaster, saying support from him would encourage the displaced residents and firefighters.
But former Gov. Bill Owens (R) called the visit “ill-advised,” saying that it would distract from the effort to contain the flames. Authorities say that the president’s tour will not interfere with firefighting efforts.
Taylor Lane, a Junior at the University of Colorado at Boulder, is in her hometown of Colorado Springs this week helping friends evacuate their homes. Two neighborhoods, Pine Valley and Douglass Valley, lifted mandatory evacuations on Friday morning, she said.
The fire has claimed at least 346 homes and 16,750 acres despite the progress that local and national firefighters are making. The Waldo Canyon Fire is the largest of nine major fires currently burning in Colorado.